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Mathieu, François Désiré


Archbishop of Toulouse, cardinal, historian; b. Einville (Meurtheet-Moselle), France, May 27, 1839; d. London, Oct. 26, 1908. He studied at the minor seminary in Pontà-Mousson and at the major seminary in Nancy. Even before ordination (1863) he taught in the minor seminary. After becoming a doctor of literature (1878), he acted as chaplain (1879) in the boarding school in Nancy run by the Dominicans, and was named honorary canon (1883) and pastor of St. Martin's parish in Pontà-Mousson (1893). He succeeded Charles freppel as bishop of Angers (Jan. 3, 1893). In his diocese he founded the Society of Priestly Vocations, reestablished the titles of archpriest and dean, and strove to assure the prosperity of the Catholic university. In 1896 he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Toulouse, taking possession of the see September 29. After being created cardinal (June 19, 1899), he was called to Rome, but he continued to administer his diocese until March 1900. In the Roman Curia he was a member of several congregations and was also charged with diplomatic missions. His publications included his doctrinal theses, L'Ancien régime dans la province de Lorraine et Barrois and De Joannis abbatis Gorziensis vita (1878). Le Concordat de 1801 (1903) attracted much attention, as did an article by him in the Revue des Deux Mondes (1904) on "Les derniers jours de Léon XIII et le conclave, par un témoin." He was elected to the French Academy (June 1906) and was received into membership (Feb. 7, 1907) by the Count of Haussonville. He died in London, where he had gone to participate in a Eucharistic congress. An original and distinguished personality, good-humored and simple, Mathieu put into effect the directives of Leo XIII, notably those concerning reconciliation between Catholics and the French Third Republic.

Bibliography: e. renard, "Un Cardinal de Curie: Le Cardinal Mathieu," Le Correspondant 285 (1921) 224256; Le Cardinal Mathieu (Paris 1925).

[r. limouzin-lamothe]

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